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5 Toxic Habits You Should Break Now for a Better Life

5 Toxic Habits You Should Break Now for a Better Life

Much too often, we hold ourselves back from achieving the best version of ourselves. It can manifest in many ways, but it’s often toxic habits that hold us back from a better life. Sometimes, these habits don’t seem bad on the surface, but we often go overboard, turning what could be considered a positive quality into a toxic habit. Here are 5 toxic habits that you should break now for a better life.

1. Thirsting for approval.

Being liked is a worthy goal. We want people to like us and we make choices every day with this in mind. But too often we go too far and begin to thirst for approval. When you are a good person, you make informed and well-thought out choices, and you understand your personal limitations; being yourself will attract the kind of people you should be around.

Doing things just to get approval can leave you in terrible situations. You may be put in positions where you do things that are against your moral code or even worse, against the law. Whether it’s a boss or co-worker at work who is pushing you to cut corners or a relationship that is pushing you to do things outside your comfort level, thirsting for approval can be very toxic.

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It rears its head in many ways. Often times, you end up being “too nice” and getting taken advantage of by friends or family members. Rather than doing the things that benefit you, you are always trying to win approval. And rarely does it even work. I’ve met many people pleasers who are never truly happy. When they fail at winning approval, they try harder. When they win approval, it’s never enough.

It’s important to do things for others, but it’s vital to do things that make you happy. The best way to win approval is to be yourself. When you thirst for approval, your proverbial cup will run empty. When you do things that fill your cup, you’ll be satisfied and people will notice.

2.  Waiting for life to happen.

We’ve taken the old saying “good things come to those who wait” a step or ten too far. Being patient is important, no doubt. But at some point, patience becomes being lethargic and your life stops being your own. Find things you love and make them happen. Learn what you’re passionate about and do those things. Have fun. When you’re out living life, good things will happen. If you’re sitting on your couch hoping, it’s less likely that they will.

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Be an active participant in your life. The people you spend time with, the things you do, and the career you choose will play a major part in other aspects of your life coming together. Don’t wait on life to happen. When you’re living life to the fullest, you’ll find that good things come your way.

3. Competing & comparing.

Being driven is great. And external motivation can help drive you to become a better person. But too often, it becomes all about keeping up with the Jones’s. When you try to one-up and base your opinion of yourself on what someone else is doing, it becomes toxic. Stop worrying about what others have and start focusing on what you truly want. Buy the things that make you happy and skip the purchases that you don’t want or need. You’ll find you are much happier when you live your life the way you want, rather than comparing it to someone else.

4. Relying too much on others.

Trying to go at it alone can be difficult, if not impossible. We need others. We depend on our families, friends, co-workers, and even strangers on a daily basis. But it’s easy to rely too much on others and lose a piece of ourselves. It’s vital that you control your own destiny and you maintain a level of responsibility for your life. Take help when you need it, but understand that ultimately only you are responsible for your life and your decisions.

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5. Settling.

At some point in everyone’s life, they must make decision and stick to it. These decisions come daily and can be as simple as what to have for breakfast and as challenging as who to marry. On some level, everyone must compromise and understand their limitations.

When I was looking for my first job, I wanted to make a great wage, choose my hours, and work with people I liked. My expectations may have been out of whack with no experience, so I ended up with a great job that didn’t pay nearly as well. I didn’t settle, but I did compromise. I took a look at my options and chose one I felt good about. If none were good, I would have kept looking.

It’s important to remain flexible and truly understand your limitations. But never settle. Whether it’s for a job, a relationship, or just a random decision, it’s important to understand your options and choose one that you are happy with. Settling for a relationship because you don’t want to be lonely or a job that you hate because you need a paycheck is a toxic way to live your life. Be picky and understand you may have to compromise, but never settle.

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Featured photo credit: via flickr.com

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Kyle Robbins

Kyle is the founder of Branding Beard. He writes about communication tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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